Northampton Changemakers turn up the heat in Miami

Date 8.03.2017

The team of Changemakers from the University of Northampton have turned the Miami Heat at the Changemaker Campus Exchange 2017, hosted by Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida. The team were showcasing how five years of embedding the principles and skills of social innovation across the University working for students and staff.

The Changemaker Campus Exchange, with over 750 delegates, connects staff, academics and students from 150 colleges and universities, representing over 30 countries from across the globe to share their vision for how Higher Education institutions can support the creation of innovative solutions to pressing social & environmental problems locally and globally.

This year, Changemakers from the Students’ Union, academic faculties, Changemaker hub and Office of the Vice Chancellor, made their way to the Exchange to share how the University of Northampton has embedded Changemaker across all aspects of student and staff experience.  The response from delegates shows that Northampton is leading the way at the forefront of this worldwide movement.

Wendy Turner, Senior lecturer in Education, Children and Young People said: “The Exchange has been a great experience, meeting fellow Changemakers and finding we have much in common with current global challenges in ensuring that Changemaking remains central as a movement of social impact.

“One particular Changemaker project, Verde Gardens, a model for homeless families to be housed within a supported environment to learn to live, work and grow really impressed me. This venture, which support families until their children are 18, older in some cases links multi-disciplinary teams from Health, Social, Education and Agriculture backgrounds to who volunteer and have ‘service placements’ within the project, supporting clinical staff. This way of linking employability skills, and changemaker attributes is something we can learn from. To underpin all of this, faculty staff spend one session a week at the project to take advantage of an ‘on site’ education environment for their sessions. This is a really sustainable model that felt like a win-win; for the project, the families, the staff and the local University students.”

Artemis Artemiou, Ethics and Environment Officer for the University of Northampton Students’ Union said: “A lot of other institutions struggle with student engagement. This seems to be something we’re all passionate about changing. We’ve shared some great ideas regarding how to get students to find their ‘spark’.”

Tim Curtis, long-standing champion for Changemaking at the University has attended a number of Exchanges, and represents Northampton and universities from Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Singapore and Australia in the Changemaker network said: “Each time we go to the Exchange, my colleagues come back realising that we are better than we think we are. Other universities are always impressed at the breadth and innovation of what we have managed to achieve over the last five years. We are making waves with our peers around the world”.

The visit to the Exchange coincides with the fourth anniversary of the designation of the University as a Changemaker campus, the first in the UK. This year, we are required to renew our commitment to the Changemaker Campus network, with a renewal process; repeating the application process in 2012, and reporting to the Campus network on our progress and forward plans.

You can contribute to that renewal process by submitting information about your Changemaker initiatives to the Changemaker Portal at www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker